My daughter was 7 when I joined VB
. I've been here on again and off again as I've struggled with being vegetarian for a little over 8 years. My then elementary aged child is now nearly 16 and a junior in high school. Time flies!
She is now, by her own choice, a very committed vegetarian trying to make the transition to vegan (we are strictly vegetarian at home, but will make dairy exceptions when dining out or dining at the homes of friends for now).
Yesterday her AP Chemistry class had a mandatory study session at a local university. It was an all day long event. The students were told that lunch would be provided. Upon further questioning my daughter was told that it was being catered by Chick-fil-A and there would not be a vegetarian option.
Fine. No problem. She and one other girl (vegan) coordinated and decided to pack lunches that they could share. My daughter packed a quinoa, black bean, corn and spinach salad, vegetables and hummus, apple sauce, fruit juice, and water.
Lunch time at the event rolled around and the woman in charge of the catering was seriously offended that my daughter wouldn't take a chicken sandwich. Here's the conversation:
Woman: You need to take a sandwich.
DD: I brought my lunch.
Woman: Why would you bring your lunch when you knew we'd be serving lunch?
DD: I'm a vegetarian.
Woman: That doesn't make any sense. Take a sandwich.
DD: I brought my lunch! I don't eat the rotting flesh of dead animals.
Woman: Well we ordered one sandwich for each participant. It is wasteful if you don't take it.
DD: Then maybe you should have asked for RSVPs for lunch. But either way I don't eat dead animals.
Woman: Well fine!
Then the woman turns to my daughter's friend (vegan) and says, "Here's your sandwich, Dear."
Now DD's friend is very very quiet and shy, she rarely speaks above a whisper. She quietly said, "I'm a vegetarian, too."
DD: She said she doesn't eat rotting flesh either!
Being a vegetarian here in Alabama is tough. The idea of not eating meat is so foreign to these people. It is like living on the set of the Paula Deen show.
But I am really quite proud of my daughter for not mincing words, and for not allowing herself or her much quieter friend to be bullied on the topic of vegetarianism.
Oh ... and apparently one of her teachers was recently diagnosed with some coronary issues and DD suggested that she read The China Study and look into the PCRM. The teacher is now working on transitioning her diet to be mostly meat and dairy free. She hasn't committed to going vegetarian yet - but she's an old (literally in her late 60s) Southern woman so it might take her a while.